Kalamaja 2001 is a video showcasing a bikepacking adventure ride from St. Pauli, Germany to Kalamaja, an old part of town in Tallinn/Estonia. This trip took three riders the entire 1900 kilometres in 8 days through six countries to the beautiful east in northern Europe.
It has been a month since returning from the most recent trip to the US. That’s 4 weeks to digest all the colours, flavours, energy and emotions that come from every foray into the wild world of the United States of America. For this write up I am picking my favorite part – Soft time Tour d’Idaho w. Friends – Not the official name but rather what I recall it as. It was a modified version of the Idaho section of the newly formed Wild West Route. Pioneers of fresh route from Bikepacking Roots!
When we lost our image server bucket from 2014-2016, it was a devastating blow to the visual catalog of bike portraits, rides, events, and other cycling ephemera. I felt like a piece of my own body was taken away since so much time, energy, and in this case, physical effort was put into making that content.
That era, even though it was only a few years back, was a unique time in cycling. Instagram hadn’t quite caught on yet, not at the capacity it carries today. The whole gravel and bikepacking trend was just ramping up.
Erik Nohlin was working on the now-defunct Specialized Adventure lineup, including the AWOL – he was riding the “secret” Poler edition prototype at the time – and I was just beginning to fine-tune my abilities as both an athlete and photographer. I will admit, resurrecting stories like this is painful, partially because I feel like as a website, we’ve grown to present more refined ride Reportage, and also because it was a different time in my personal life. Yet, so many people request that these galleries get a re-up, so here we are on a Throwback Thursday post, digging up old content and re-presenting it. Rather than just re-inserting the images themselves, I culled the selection down and compiled all three ride reports into one. Enjoy!
Long Valley, the Volcanic Tablelands, Lake Crowley, Mono Lake, and in general, the graben known as Owens Valley hold timeless stories beneath the silty soil, sage, and rabbitbrush. This area has long intrigued me, looking past its main attractions: Instagram-famous – or infamous – hot springs and world-class fly fishing. The landscape is rugged and steep, with unsuspecting silt traps enveloping your wheels up to the hubs as winds flex their prowess as shape-shifting forces spanning eons. Yet its magnetism, beauty, indigenous, and geologic history make it prime for bikepacking, touring, gravel riding, and road riding. It will take some planning, the right equipment, and some determination.
This video is a tribute to all the slightly-stressed grandmothers whose grandchildren are off riding bikes in distant lands…
Three years ago when I was tossing around the idea of a long-term bikepacking trip, I had two primary options on my mind. There was Peru and the Andes of South America, which I had a tiny bit of familiarity with given my short previous stint there, and then the wild card… Kyrgyzstan. A small former Soviet country dotted with lakes and covered in glaciated peaks as tall as 24,400 feet. With a rich nomadic history due to its place on the ancient Silk Road trading route that passed through from neighboring China, it makes for an ideal locale to load up your bike and get lost in the mountains. So even while I was still in Patagonia, I was scouring maps of Central Asia for the possibilities that awaited in the faraway lands of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Cooper and Pius decided to quit their jobs and spend the foreseeable future traveling from Seattle to Mexico by bike, with their surfboards in tow. They’re riding, surfing, and cleaning up the beaches along the way… More videos like this, Light and Motion!
Blackburn‘s film from a few years back, ‘Roll With It’ is timeless, so when they finally uploaded the movie for free to their Youtube channel, we had to share it.
Today is a hot one in southern Idaho, 90 degrees and rising. My partner, Skyler, and I are stopped for snacks under the few shaded bushes along a lonely dirt road.
We hear the tell-tale signs of a lonely car and a white-haired woman drive towards us. She slows down to approach us cautiously. Her window rolls down as the car stops and from inside we hear “There isn’t a road that goes through there.”
When I started this trip through South America almost 3 years ago I had no idea what to expect. My bicycle “touring” experience could all be summed up in a tumultuous three week trip to Perú where I spent half of the time with my head hovering over a toilet while suffering from typhoid and a quick one week trip through Norway that resulted in an emergency room visit with frostbite on my toes that still affects me today. I was working on roughly a 5% success rate. Would I quit my “stable job” of almost ten years only to head off into the Andes all by myself and realize that this just wasn’t my thing? Come crawling back a few weeks later, asking for a do-over? I honestly had no idea and these were extremely realistic possibilities in my mind. All I knew was that I’d regret it if I didn’t try.
Long before July’s sweltering heat, we were enjoying the pleasant month of March. I had been sitting on my porch sipping coffee when my friend Todd texted me, “I’m going to email you about the thing, so look out.” We’ve collaborated on many wild ideas, and Todd’s been a good friend for over a decade. I usually perk up when he reaches out about “things” because he’s a great adventure planner, so I kept a close eye on the inbox. Lucky for me, it was an email saying that all the plans were coming together for an idea we had been tossing around for quite a while; a multi-day bike camping trip to uncover the inspiration for the Coal x Swift collaboration project with artist and illustrator, Chris McNally in the Marin Headlands of California.
One year and a week ago, a vehicle’s faulty catalytic converter ignited roadside vegetation igniting a blaze that would consume 96,901 acres of Sierra and Sequoia National Forest, eventually closing Yosemite for the first time in the National Park’s history. This was the first “big” fire of the indomitable 2018 fire season that torched the Western U.S. and serving as an unwelcome backdrop to this 12-minute major motion picture.
“When illustrator Chris McNally invited us on a bicycle adventure through his expansive Northern California backyard, we knew we were in for a wild ride. Starting and ending at his Mission District studio, Chris would lead us on an epic 4-day tour of the SF and Marin County landmarks and landscapes that have inspired his work, and also inspired two great Seattle adventure brands—Coal Headwear and Swift Industries—to create “The Headlands Collection”.
“Drawn Away” is a story about creating close-to-home adventures with the freedom that bikes offer; about uncovering the hidden treasures and secret spots at the interface of the built and natural environments, where urban bleeds into rural, and rural into wilderness; about slowing the pace and making space for inspiration and creativity; and about the importance of building community one pedal stroke—and one brush stroke—at a time!”
The Skid Lizards are Oregon-based friends with bikes, bags, and jobs. Flies fear them; fish do not. This mission would involve exploring the Metolius River’s length, purity, and gravel – from head to tailwaters and back again.
It’s coming! June 22nd is rapidly approaching. Do you know where you’re going for the 2019 Swift Campout? Head to Swift Industries to see who is hosting a Summer Solstice Campout in your city. We’ll be in Bozeman with Alter Cycles and Sklar Bikes. We’ll be doing around 20 miles of dirt road climbing up to Mystic Lake to camp under the Big Sky!
Share your local ride details in the comments and check out some inspirational photos below!
I was looking at everyone’s legs. The group of 13 included professional and semi professional racers, life-long athletes focused specifically on their relationship to the bicycle. There aren’t six packs; there’s, like, eight to ten pacs. Some even have muscular faces! How is that even possible to accomplish? Seeing my own soft animal body as lesser than their impressive builds. The grass kept getting greener and greener on the other side of my eyeballs and I felt myself getting smaller and smaller. Where in my body is this discomfort living? I had three days and the grand views around beautiful Big Sur to find the site of where this discomfort lived in my body. Aside from physical discomfort from physical exertion, I came up empty. Instead, I found an interstice where feelings of awe grew and that became my saving grace.
“Cruzar” is a short video, documenting Patagonia’s Lake District, Carretera Austral, and Chiloé Island.
The We Love Where We Ride series continues with Brady Lawrence, a videographer, who in 2015 rode 7,500 miles to raise support for the National Parks Service.